Publicis Groupe Agencies Including Digitas, Publicis Sapient Went Through Layoffs This Week

By Erik Oster Comment

Publicis Groupe agencies including Digitas and Publicis Sapient went through a round of layoffs in the U.S. this week, sources with knowledge of the measures told AgencySpy.

Decisions around layoffs and cost-cutting measures are being handled at the agency level, without direction from holding company leadership, and vary by agency—including some that weren’t impacted—these sources explained. Earlier this week, Publicis Groupe agency BBH laid off around 20% of staff across its New York and Los Angeles offices.

Digitas confirmed that the agency went through a round of layoffs this week.

“The focus of Digitas U.S.’s cost-cutting initiatives continues to be on serving our clients while protecting as many jobs as possible and ensuring we are best positioned for the future,” an agency representative said in a statement.

Less than 5% of Digitas staff in the U.S. was impacted by the layoffs, according to a source with knowledge of the agency’s operations. A small number of furloughs were implemented, as well as executive salary reductions, in an attempt to limit the number of employees, according to this source. Employees who were laid off were given severance, and the agency is providing healthcare coverage for an unspecified period, the source added.

Publicis Sapient laid off around 1% of staff in the U.S., sources with knowledge of the agency’s operations told AgencySpy.

Publicis Sapient declined to comment.

Additionally, Publicis Communications East rolled Second Story and Rokkan into Razorfish.

Publicis Groupe revived the Razorfish brand at the beginning of 2020, after a rebranding in early 2019 seemingly brought an end to the Razorfish name. Publicis Groupe previously had folded SapientRazorfish into Publicis Sapient, Razorfish with fellow digital network Sapient Nitro to create SapientRazorfish in late 2016.

“By realigning the talent, capabilities, and work of Second Story and Rokkan to Razorfish, we will accelerate the combined capabilities and synergies that help businesses adapt and unlock growth for the future while building on Razorfish’s momentum over the past months,” a Publicis Groupe representative said in a statement, explaining that agencies will retain their individual brands. 

As a result of the realignment, some positions within Publicis Communications East have been eliminated, a source with direct knowledge of Publicis Groupe’s operations explained. Reductions from Rokkan, Second Story and some other agencies within Publicis Groupe Communications East represented around 1% of staff across Publicis Communications East, according to sources with knowledge of the holding company’s operations. Publicis Communications East also implemented salary reductions of 10% for those making over $100,000, another source added.

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